Clay Wilson continued his strong play in the month of December, scoring 52 seconds into overtime to lift the Abbotsford Heat to a 4-3 road win over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday evening.
Carrying the puck on a two-on-one break with Krys Kolanos, Wilson elected to keep, and beat Grand Rapids goalie Joey MacDonald with a wrist shot.
The OT tally, plus a first-period fight against the Griffins’ Tomas Tatar and an assist on Quintin Laing’s third-period goal, represented a Gordie Howe hat trick for the veteran blueliner.
The Heat are 7-0-1 in the month of December, and Wilson has been a huge part of that success, tallying seven points (two goals, five assists) during that span.
Wednesday’s win gave the Heat (20-8-2-0, 42 points) sole possession of second place in both the AHL’s West Division and overall standings. They’re two points back of the first-place Oklahoma City Barons.
Wilson wasn’t the only member of the Heat to put up big numbers on Wednesday. Krys Kolanos posted two goals and an assist to go with a game-high seven shots and a +4 rating. He’s dominated the Griffins this season – in his Heat debut on Oct. 28, he notched a hat trick and an assist.
Kolanos’s linemate Ben Walter picked up two assists, while goalie Danny Taylor had to be sharp en route to his sixth win in seven starts with the Heat. Grand Rapids out-shot Abbotsford 46-30, but Taylor came through with 43 saves.
• Forward Bobby Robins, signed to a player tryout (PTO) contract by the Heat on Tuesday, suited up for his first game with the team. Robins, most recently a member of the ECHL’s Chicago Express, registered one shot on goal and an even plus-minus rating.
• The Heat wrap up their pre-Christmas schedule on Thursday with a road date against the Chicago Wolves. The game the Vancouver Canucks’ affiliate will be broadcast live locally on Shaw TV (5 p.m. PST start).